Updated April 22, 2022
This information is for people who have received positive COVID-19 test results on a PCR or RAT test, or are presumed positive because they have symptoms of COVID-19. You must isolate as directed by the province.
1. Do not wait for a call from public health.
Public health is not notified of positive results on rapid tests. While public health is notified of PCR test results, due to high case rates in the region, it may take more than 48 hours for a representative of public health to contact you. Please stay in isolation after you receive your positive result, of either type of test, and follow the instructions below.
2. To prevent spreading COVID-19 to others you must self isolate, as directed by the province.
If you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years old, you must isolate for five days from when your symptoms began or from the date of your test, whichever came first. You can end isolation after five days if your symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours (48 hours for GI symptoms), and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed.
If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, you must isolate for 10 days after your symptoms began or the date of your test, whichever came first.
You should isolate away from household members where possible to avoid ongoing exposure. Other individuals in your household should also isolate for the same amount of time as you, unless:
- They are 18 years of age and older and have already received their booster dose.
- They are under 18 years of age and fully vaccinated.
- They have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, have completed their required isolation, and do not have any symptoms.
Self-isolating means you must stay in your home/on your property and away from others. Do not go outside unless you have a private balcony or enclosed yard where you can avoid contact with others. You cannot go out for any reason unless you need emergency medical care. Someone else must deliver the things you need (groceries or medications). Self-isolation is a legal requirement under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. If you ignore this requirement, you may be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day for each day you are not in self-isolation. You have the right to challenge this order.
More information about self-isolating is available at hpePublicHealth.ca/understanding-self-isolation.
3. You must notify your high-risk contacts.
- Public health is not able to notify all identified high-risk contacts that they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
- Public health will NOT be notifying your high-risk contacts. You are responsible for notifying them.
- Please carefully consider all interactions you had with others during your contagious period. Your contagious period is the 48 hours (2 days) before you developed symptoms, until the time you started isolating.
- If you do not have symptoms and had no known exposure to someone that has COVID-19, consider all interactions you had with others during the 48 hours (2 days) before you got tested, until the time you started isolating.
- If you do not have symptoms and you had known exposure to someone that has COVID-19, consider all interactions you had with others starting 48 hours after your exposure.
- Identify the people you had close contact with during your contagious period. These individuals are your high-risk contacts. Close contact is defined as:
- Any face-to-face contact within 2 metres for a total of 15 minutes or longer (even if wearing a mask, and even if many small interactions add up to 15 minutes or more).
- Any face-to-face or physical contact while one or both people were not wearing a mask and were within 2 metres for any length of time.
- Received or provided any service or interaction without appropriate and consistent use of PPE (medical mask and eye protection) for any length of time.
- IMPORTANT – Provide your high-risk contacts with a notification from public health. This notification provides more information about their isolation and testing requirements.
If you work or live in a highest risk health care setting*, you must notify your employer and follow direction provided by your employer.
4. You must take additional precautions after your isolation ends
- For a total of 10 days (or 20 days for immunocompromised individuals) after symptom onset (or date of specimen collection, whichever is earlier/applicable), individuals must:
- Continue to wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings. Reasonable exceptions would include temporary removal for essential activities like eating (e.g., when eating in shared space at school/work while maintaining as much distancing from others as possible)
- Avoid activities where mask removal would be necessary (e.g., dining out)
- Note: Individuals who are exempt from masking (e.g., children under two years of age, etc.) may return to public settings without masking
- Not visit anyone who is immunocompromised or at higher risk of illness (i.e., seniors)
- Not visit or attend work in any highest risk settings.
For more information
The ministry has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at: 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8am-6pm, Monday to Sunday.
You can also find additional information on the following pages:
- What to do if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19
- Understanding self-isolation
- Individuals who have COVID-19, or have been exposed
- Information about COVID-19
If you need immediate medical assistance, please call Telehealth Ontario 24 hours a day at 1-866-797-0000. If you are experiencing concerning medical symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 and inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19.
*For the purposes of this guidance, highest risk settings for consideration of early return to work to mitigate critical staffing shortages applies to: hospitals including complex continuing care facilities and paramedic services, Congregate living settings including long-term care homes, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, correctional facilities, demonstration schools and hospital schools.